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Rick Wald 16/nyc

Castaneda’s Dream

Glowbow 001 [73:28]



Coffee with Dolphy [6:40]
Castaneda’s dreams [12:16]
Mixed clouds and sun [10:52]
Pixilation [11:25]
Breeze right through [8:29]
Over [10:46]
Gliding [12:57]
Bob Millikan, Nick Marchione, Valery Ponomarev, John Eckert (trumpet), Sam Burtis, Keith O’Quinn, Art Baron (trombone), George Flynn (bass trombone), Lou Marini (soprano sax, alto sax, flute), Rick Wald (alto), Loren Stillman (alto sax, flute), Lew del Gatto (tenor sax, flute), Paul Ostermayer (tenor sax, clarinet), Gary Smulyan (baritone sax, bass clarinet), Ted Kooshian (piano), Chip Jackson (bass), Jeff Brillinger (drums)
No recording date given

A fine, enjoyable CD of big band jazz, featuring a band that can be both powerful and gentle and which is peopled with accomplished soloists. All the compositions and arrangements are by Rick Wald. The arrangements, which are thoroughly competent and idiomatic, are at times suggestive of, say, Thad Jones and Gary McFarland, but there is no question of mere imitation.

Some of the musicians will be familiar to non-New-Yorkers, others less so. All are jazz musicians of a high order and there are some excellent, inventive solos. The rhythm section is a joy throughout – the work of Jackson and Brillinger has a flexible certainty that underpins and prompts everything else.

Rick Wald studied composing and arranging with Herb Pomeroy – the Boston based trumpeter and leader – from whom he clearly learned good habits and a secure sense of the creative balance/tension between soloist and big band. Wald himself has worked in distinguished company – such as the lee Konitz Nonet, the Clark Terry big band and the Gerry Mulligan Concert Jazz Band. On this recording he chooses, modestly, not to give himself a very prominent role as a soloist, preferring to let other members of the band take the limelight.

There are fine solos (especially on ‘Coffee with Dolphy’ and ‘Gliding’) by altoist Loren Stillman, full of unexpectedly long melodic lines and great clarity of thought; the work of Gary Smulyan on baritone is hard-swinging and sophisticated; Valery Ponomarev – older readers will remember the Russian trumpeter’s years with Art Blakey at the end of the 1970s – is a supreme technician of his instrument, but it is a technique which serves some sensitive emotional expression. Chip Jackson proves himself - notably on ‘Pixilation’ and ‘Gliding’ - to be as interesting a soloist as he is an assured rhythmic foundation for the band; Ted Kooshian’s piano work is subtle and alert, Paul Ostermayer is tenor player in the great tradition, clearly in the line of descent from Coleman Hawkins. There are others – such as John Eckert and Art Baron – who deserve mention too.

In short, any admirer of modern big band music is warmly encouraged to take a listen to Rick Wald’s excellent band. I feel sure that it will be widely enjoyed by those who hear it. The "big" record companies have little interest in musicians and music such as these – more’s the pity. Rick Wald has therefore issued this CD himself – I, for one, am very grateful that he did.

Glyn Pursglove

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